The best mattresses for bad backs

Updated February 21, 2017

You spend roughly one-third of your life in bed, so it is important to invest in a mattress that provides comfort and relief from back pain. If you have a bad back, the wrong mattress will only exacerbate your back condition. The right mattress will provide comfort and support for your body and those nagging body aches.

Air Beds

An air bed provides much better support than a typical spring mattress because it matches the shape of your body using two air chambers plus a layer of air and foam. Spring mattresses apply pressure to all parts of your body, and over time, the pressure on your hips or shoulders can throw your spine out of proper alignment and increase your back pain. An air bed does not put any unnecessary pressure on your hips or shoulders. Blow up mattresses reserved for house guests or travelling can be useful. But a high quality air bed that functions as your nightly resting place offers significantly more features, including the small nearly silent pumps that allow you to remove or add air to adjust the firmness of the mattress. Some even come with two air chambers so you and your bed partner can select a firmness most suitable each of you. Several manufactures offer commercial airbeds. If you travel often, your old blow up air bed travels easily and gives you the option of sleeping on an air bed when away from home.

Adjustable Beds

Adjustable beds allow you to move the mattress up or down to support different parts of your body and relieve your back, neck and shoulders from pressure that could lead to additional pain. Raising your upper body allows you to read or watch TV without adding pressure and strain to your back; and raising your legs takes pressure off your back and aids in blood circulation. If you raise the upper and the lower body, the mattress supports your entire body weight. Adjustable beds with built-in massage features can also help in reducing pain and relaxing your back muscles, but check with your doctor before using a mattress massager to relieve your pain.

Foam Mattresses

Foam mattresses can be put into almost any position to take pressure off your back and relieve back pain. Foam mattresses have better air flow than spring mattresses, which allows air to circulate easier. Foam mattresses also move less than spring mattresses; they stay close to the wall or nightstand so there is little to no movement as you sleep. Foam mattresses conform to your exact body shape, eliminating pressure caused by springs. The idea is that you are sleeping on a cloud with no pressure whatsoever. Before you purchase a foam mattress, consult your doctor to confirm he recommends a foam bed for you.

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About the Author

Chris Newton has worked as a professional writer since 2001. He spent two years writing software specifications then spent three years as a technical writer for Microsoft before turning to copywriting for software and e-commerce companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of Colorado.